London Transport Museum have announced a new run of bookings for their fabulous Hidden London tours, which give the public access to disused stations, platforms and buildings with a connection to the Underground.
I reported back from Charing Cross in March 2016 but have also visited the tours at Aldwych, Euston, Clapham South (former air-raid shelters), 55 Broadway (above St James’s Park Station), Down Street, and Highgate (High Level).
Here is a taster of what to expect on each tour. They are all fascinating in their own way and give an insight into those interesting hidden spaces.
Charing Cross: Access All Areas
Euston: The Lost Tunnels (visited 19th June 2016)
This is the one which should be the top of your list, as both the Drummond Street entrance to the station, and the platforms included in the tour, are included in the space planned for transformation in the work for the new HS2 line.
Clapham South: Subterranean Shelter Tour (visited 14th August 2016)
This is a trip into the deep level shelters utilised both for the Second World War as air-raid shelters, and as accommodation for immigrants during the Windrush generation. Although the shelters are now used for storage and little of the original furnishings are in situ, it is possible to get a sense of the communities which grew below ground.
Down Street: Churchill’s Secret Station (visited 7th August 2016)
Once a stop on the main Piccadilly line serving well-heeled Mayfair, this station closed in the 1930s and was converted into a set of offices and accommodation for the Prime Minister and civil servants during the Second World War.
Highgate: Wilderness Walkabout (visited 3rd September 2017)
Highgate’s high-level station was on the line now known as the Northern Heights walk, between Alexandra Palace and Finsbury Park. It was meant to be electrified and included in the London Underground during the 1940s, but the plans were abandoned during the war. The tunnels at Highgate are now utilised to house bats, and the station is slowly returning to nature.
55 Broadway: London’s First Skyscraper (visited 9th October 2016)
This is a tour around a couple of floors within the headquarters of London Underground, above St James’s Park station. It includes a trip to the roof of the building with views across London.
Aldwych: End of the Line (visited 28th June 2014)
I have not visited as part of Hidden London but on one of the earlier themed trips, which give a flavour of the former Piccadilly line station (closed in 1994).
You can find out more about the tours available between April and September 2019 (including a couple of film screenings) at Hidden London.